Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii has died at age 88, his office reported on late Monday afternoon. Inouye, a Democrat, had served in the U.S. Senate since January 3, 1963. Politico had reported on Monday that the condition of Inouye, who has been ill, had worsened. He was also the chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. According to his staff, his last word was, "Aloha."
Inouye, a World War II veteran, died at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he had been receiving treatment for respiratory problems, which had plagued him since the 1960s when complications arose from lung surgery. Those complications impaired his ability to take in oxygen. He was a Medal of Honor recipient. During the war, Inouye's right arm was amputed after being hit with German gunfire.
Inouye was a member of the Senate Watergate Committee, which investigated President Richard Nixon's role in the Watergate scandal cover-up. The committee's investigation eventually contributed to Nixon's resignation.
According to Hawaii News Now,
"Well known as one of the most influential leaders in the Senate, Inouye became the first Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 1975 and served separate stints as the Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs between 1987-1995 and 2001-2003.
"Inouye chaired a special committee charged with investigating the Iran-Contra Affair during Ronald Reagan's administration in 1987, which saw senior-level cabinet officials sell arms to Iran in hopes that American hostages being held in Lebanon would be released."